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Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates will be the cost to the Exchequer of tax subsidies on company cars in 1988-89 ; and what estimate he has made for the next five years.
Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 10 February 1989] : I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the fact that the company car scales do not fully reflect the value to an employee of having the private use of a company car. It is not possible to estimate the precise extent of the undervaluation. I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) on 8 February 1989 at column 553 .
Mr. Luce : Working mothers will be an important section of the labour force in the 1990s. The Civil Service recognises the need to offer working conditions and career opportunities that will be attractive to them. We have therefore revised our policy on financing child care schemes to give Departments the freedom to support these within running cost provisions, where this offers good
Column 307value for money. We have also clarified the rules on unpaid special leave to encourage Department to give a career break with a right of return for up to five years to staff with family responsibilities. Together with the existing programme of action to increase equality of opportunity for women at all levels we think these new measures will help to ensure that the service can recruit and retain staff in the labour market of the 1990s.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Attorney-General how many small claims were brought in England and Wales during the last 12 months for which records are available ; and how many and what percentage of such claims were brough by employees against employers.
The Attorney-General : The distribution of the nature and amounts of claims brought in county courts in England and Wales during 1987 is shown in table 4.3 of the 1987 edition of the annual command publication "Judicial Statistics". This was presented to Parliament in July 1988 and is available from the House of Commons Library. No data are collected on claims brought by employees against employers.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Attorney-General what was the average time between the grant of a civil legal aid section 1 certificate and the payment for work done under that certificate and that in respect of all such certificates issued in each of the last 10 years.
The Attorney-General : The average time between the grant of a full civil legal aid certificate and the payment of the first main bill or notification of a nil claim in each of the last 10 years was as follows :
|Non-matrimonial (months)|Matrimonial<2>(months) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1978-79 |30.3 |14.0 1979-80 |29.5 |18.1 1980-81 |29.1 |19.7 1981-82 |27.5 |20.8 1982-83 |28.2 |22.7 1983-84 |28.7 |23.7 1984-85 |28.0 |24.3 1985-86 |27.2 |24.8 1986-87 |28.4 |25.6 1987-88 |30.0 |26.9 <1> The figures provided are approximations only, based on the overall volume of certificates issued and bills paid during each year. <2> The figures produced relate to bills paid in respect of certificates issued after 1 April 1977. Information on certificates issued prior to that date is not available. This has necessarily distorted the true average time for matrimonial cases, particularly in the early years.
|c|Sentenced population in prison service establishments|c| |c|in England and Wales: by offence group 30 June 1988|c| Offence group |Number<1> ------------------------------------------------------------ Violence against the person |8,660 Sexual offences |2,690 Robbery |3,900 Other offences |20,900 Not recorded |1,840 In default of payment of a fine |560 |------- All offences |38,550 <1> Provisional rounded estimates.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of his departmental guidelines for the evaluation of local authority civil defence plans submitted to his Department for inspection under the planned programme for implementation.
Mr. John Patten : Home Office guidance on the writing of civil defence plans is contained in the emergency planning guidance to local authorities, issued in 1985 and updated in these respects in 1987, a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list, naming the local authority concerned, each plan required by schedule 2 to the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983 and evaluated under the planned programme for implementation, which is regarded as incomplete ;
(2) if he will list, naming the local authority concerned, each plan required by schedule 2 to the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983 and evaluated under the planned programme for implementation, which is regarded as having failed to take account of the Government's planning assumptions ;
(3) if he will list, naming the local authority concerned, each plan required by schedule 2 to the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983 and evaluated under the planned programme for implementation, which is regarded as containing little or no operational detail ;
(4) if he will list, naming the local authority concerned, each plan required by schedule 2 to the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983 and evaluated under the planned programme for implementation, which is regarded as amounting to little more than a statement of intent.
Mr. John Patten : No. As my right hon. Friend said in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Knight) on 31 January columns 94-95, even the best plans require further work. Details are discussed with individual local authorities, but plans are not categorised in the ways suggested.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will allow routine and independent checks of the use of the police national computer to ensure that police procedures are adequate to maintain privacy.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Access to the police national computer is a matter for chief officers of police. Her Majesty's inspectors of constabulary check on access procedures in the course of their annual inspections of forces, however, and this is supplemented by regular audits carried out by forces themselves, and by officers based in the Home Office. The Association of Chief Police Officers keep procedures under regular review, and the Home Office participates in this work. The association is in close touch with the Data Protection Registrar. Against this background, I see no need for further measures.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will institute an independent review of procedures surrounding the use of personal data held on the police national computer by the Police Complaints Authority or the Data Protection Registrar ; and whether he will make provision for either body to report to Parliament.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Police Complaints Authority was established to provide an independent element in the investigation of complaints against individual police officers. The authority has no power other than in relation to complaints against police officers, and a matter of this kind is not for it. The authority reports at least annually to my right hon. Friend, and its reports are laid before Parliament. The Data Protection Registrar has a duty under the Data Protection Act 1984 to promote the observance of the data protection principles laid down in that Act, and has power to investigate specific complaints made to him. He is, however, independent of the Government, and reports directly to Parliament. I shall arrange for his attention to be drawn to this question.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the precedents established by the Police Complaints Authority in its report HC425, concerning data held on police computers.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Police Complaints Authority submitted its report under section 97(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. This empowers the authority to make a report to my right hon. Friend on any matters coming to its notice under part IX of the Act to which it considers that his attention should be drawn by reason of their gravity or of other exceptional circumstances. Part IX of the Act deals with the procedures for investigating complaints against police officers.
Decisions on when to submit a report under section 97(2) of the Act are a matter for the authority.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement concerning his Department's review of the Data Protection Act ; and whether he can outline any timetable for reporting, legislative changes, or subsequent White Papers.
Mr. Renton : The interdepartmental review committee will report to Ministers as soon as posible but no specific timetable has been set. We shall consider in due course what further action may be necessary in the light of the review committee's recommendations.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand that the work has presented many difficulties, including the reconciliation of various conflicts of interest. As a result, it has taken time to draw up conclusions on which the various members of the working party could agree.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the dates when the current director of the forensic service science laboratory at Chepstow had meetings with the chief constables of each of the police forces which the laboratory serves.
Most of these meetings were either regional gatherings attended by chief constables from a number of forces, or meetings of the laboratory's user board, which is chaired by a chief constable.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The working party is to meet in April to consider the final draft of the report. It is hoped that the working party will submit its report to my right hon. Friend shortly thereafter.
Column 311constable as to how many people were reported missing in Leicestershire during each of the last five years for which records are available ; and how many and what percentage were subsequently traced.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought by local authorities under section 35 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 in each year since its enactment.
Mr. Randall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those individuals and authorities who have made representations to him about introducing a new range of police riot weapons capable of firing both plastic bullets and CS gas canisters.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Only CS equipment and plastic baton rounds and launchers of a type authorised by the Home Office may be used by police forces in England and Wales in situations of serious public disorder. Use of the equipment is subject to very strict conditions which my right hon. Friend announced in answer to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Lancashire, West (Mr. Hind) on 19 May 1986 at columns 15-16 .
Equipment for use in situations of serious public disorder is kept under review. The police have made representations about the current plastic baton round system and a number of different plastic baton round systems have been tested. No decision has been taken to replace the existing system.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) why he requires the dates of birth of individuals involved in immigration cases, his reference PO26926/88 and 22975/88, about which the hon. Member for Leyton has made representations ;
(2) why he requires the full name of individuals involved in immigration cases, his reference PO26926/88 and 22975/88, about which the hon. Member for Leyton has made representations when the hon. Member provided the names made known to him ;
(3) whether he has any knowledge of the reason why the hon. Member for Leyton received from his Department on 8 February letters which were dated 30 October 1988 and 22 November 1988 asking for the full names and dates of birth of individuals involved in immigration cases about which the hon. Member has made representations.
Mr. Renton : When letters from Members making representations in immigration cases do not supply sufficient information for the papers of the individual concerned to be traced, further details have to be requested in order for the representations to be followed up. This applies to the cases and letters listed above. If hon. Members do not respond to requests for more information within a certain time a reminder letter is sent.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take appropriate action to prevent discriminatory practices against prisoners in United Kingdom prisons who may be HIV positive or have developed symptoms of AIDS.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : In England and Wales the management of prisoners identified as HIV antibody positive is a matter for the governor and medical officer, taking account of local circumstances and the needs of the individual prisoner. Central guidelines stress the importance of enabling those who are well to participate as fully as possible in normal prison life. This is also emphasised in staff training and in an educational package which will shortly be available for use with prisoners. Plans for the care and support of prisoners who develop AIDS or AIDS-related illness are modelled on best practice in the general community. Referral to specialised facilities within the National Health Service is arranged when this is clinically indicated.
Practice elsewhere in the United Kingdom is a matter for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The available information can be found at columns (f) and (g) of appendix 7 to the report of Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary for 1987, a copy of which is to be found in the Library.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commisioner of Police of the Metropolis as to why the Metropolitan police are not prepared to allow Mr. and Mrs. K. Crane of Melton Mowbray, or their solicitors, to see the report of two Scotland Yard officers who investigated the circumstances relating to the death in Spain of Petty Officer John Black, Royal Navy ; and whether he will make a statement.
Column 313Mr. John Patten [holding answer 8 February 1989] ; Fifty four area probation services have produced statements of local objectives in one form or another. One has produced a statement of local priorities and one a review of local objectives, priorities and tasks.
Mr. Jackson : In line with the intentions first outlined in the Agricultural and Food Research Council corporate plan for 1984-1988, directors of the council's eight institutes have been asked to produce long -term for reorganising their activities on to a smaller number of sites.
The Institute of Food Research will present to the AFRC options for the restructuring of its three laboratories on to two sites. The council will then make a decision based on a detailed analysis and appraisal of these options and taking full account of the scientific programme of the institute.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will set up a national scheme for one year placements of newly qualified primary teachers in areas of severe shortage of such teachers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on the number of applicants to take (a) GCSE in physical education in 1988 and (b) O-level or GCE in physical education in the five previous years.
Mrs. Rumbold : In 1987, about 11,700 pupils in schools in England attempted CSE or GCE O-level examinations in physical education. Comparable information is not available in respect of previous years, nor yet centrally in respect of GCSE examinations taken in 1988.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many complaints he has received in respect of the conduct of ballots for grant-maintained schools ; and if he will list in respect of each (a) the sender of the complaint, (b) the authority concerned and (c) the nature of the complaint.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : A number of parents, teachers, governors and others have expressed concern to my Department about the conduct of ballots and associated procedures at schools considering seeking grant-maintained status. Such expressions of concern are frequently made in confidence, and it would not be appropriate for me to provide the details requested. The purpose of my Department's letter of 13 February to chief education officers was to draw attention to the need for
Column 314ballots and the associated procedures to be conducted fairly and responsibly, and to my powers to consider and determine formal complaints.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : I expect to lay orders for mathematics and science next month and for the first key stage in English around the end of April. The timing of further orders will depend on statutory consultations on proposals.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the estimated total cost of the review of the student finance which he established in June 1986 ; how many staff were engaged upon it ; how many representations were received about it ; and what overseas trips by Ministers, officials and consultants were undertaken, by whom and at what cost.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : The review of student support was conducted within Government, under the supervision of a group of Ministers and officials of which the membership and secretariat numbered seventeen. Since most of the staff engaged in the review were ordinarily involved, to a greater or lesser degree, in matters relating to student support, the significant additional costs arising from the review were essentially those relating to overseas visits ; the commissioning of surveys of students' income and expenditure ; the hiring of a consultant to advise on student support arrangements in other countries ; and the publication of the White Paper. Four trips overseas were undertaken by a Minister, accompanied by one official at a cost of £4,600. The other costs were :
|£ ---------------------------- Surveys |235,000 Consultancy |10,000 White Paper |4,500
The review received written evidence from over 100 organisations, seven petitions signed by a total of 1,300 people, and almost 1,600 letters.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations have been received about the proposals for student loans contained in the White Paper Cm. 520 from (a) organisations and (b) individuals ; how many of these are in favour of the proposals and how many are against them.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish a table showing for each year from 1979 to date (a) the number of surplus school places removed, (b) the target number specified for that year in the public expenditure White Paper or elsewhere and (c) (a) expressed as a percentage of (b) .
Year |The number of surplus |The Public Expenditure|per cent. (a) (b) |school places removed |White Paper Target |000s |000s |(a) |(b) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979-80} 1980-81} 1981-82} |542 |470 |115 1982-83} 1983-84 |158 |160 |99 1984-85 |155 |160 |97 1985-86 |132 |168 |79 1986-87 |118 |167 |71 1987-88 |124 |139 |89 1988-89 |n/a |137 |- 1989-90 |n/a |133 |-
The column (b) figures for 1987-88 to 1989-90 represent revised targets arrived at following discussion with the local authority associations.